Manhattan lands verbal commitments from three 2014 prospects

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A program landing three verbal commitments on the same day is something that tends to happen far more often in college football than in college basketball. But don’t tell that to the Manhattan Jaspers, who were on the receiving end of such good fortune as reported by Zach Braziller of the New York Post.

Nazareth HS teammates Samson Akilo (a 6-8 forward) and Samson Usilo (a 6-4 guard), both natives of Nigeria, made the decision to join head coach Steve Masiello’s program Wednesday evening.

“They’ve been talking about it for the last few days,” said Naz coach Todd Jamison, who praised the recruiting job done by assistant Rasheen Davis. “They called me, said, ‘Coach, we want to do this,’ and I said, ‘OK.’ Now they can concentrate on the season. There’s no more stress. That’s it, they know where they are going to school.”

On the heels of their decision, 6-7 forward Calvin Crawford (Middleton, N.Y.; will attend St. Thomas More in the fall) announced his decision to become a Jasper as well. According to CBT’s Terrence Payne, Masiello observed all three at the BasketBull Summer Championships in Ardsley, N.Y. last weekend.

Manhattan struggled with injuries last season, with primary scoring option George Beamon going down early in the season with a season-ending ankle injury. But Masiello’s squad managed to go 9-9 in MAAC play and reach the title game of the MAAC tournament, where they fell by three points to rival Iona.

The 2012-13 season did feature the emergence of forward Rhamel Brown as the best defender in the MAAC, and the addition of Maryland transfer Ashton Pankey should make the Jaspers a formidable squad inside.

Manhattan’s an experienced group (the return of Beamon will definitely help matters), and with a full roster they’ll be able to go back to playing the uptempo style coach Masiello prefers. The bolstered rotation (Manhattan also adds a four-member recruiting class) should make the Jaspers a contender in the MAAC in 2013-14.

In two seasons at the school Masiello has a record of 35-31, lifting up a program that struggled mightily prior to his arrival. The ultimate goal: leading Manhattan to its first NCAA tournament berth since 2004.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

VIDEO: UConn’s Kwintin Williams would win the NBA dunk contest

Screengrab via Instagram
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Think that’s too strong?

Look at this dunk:

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A post shared by Kwintin Williams (@jumpmanebig) on

He also did this over the summer:

Williams is a 6-foot-7, 215 pound JuCo transfer that should provide UConn with some minutes in the frontcourt this season.

LSU officially announces addition of Kavell Bigby-Williams

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LSU has announced the addition of Oregon transfer Kavell Bigby-Williams, a 6-foot-11 junior that was the National Junior College Player of the Year as a sophomore.

Bigby-Williams, who is a native of London, averaged 3.0 points and 2.8 boards last season as the Ducks reached the Final Four, but he played the majority of the season while under investigation for an alleged sexual assault that occurred while he was at Gillette College in Wyoming.

The local County Attorney declined to charge Bigby-Williams with a crime, and Gillette College police consider the case closed.

“The university conducted a responsible and comprehensive review before approving the transfer,” a release posted on LSU’s Athletics site read, “including close coordination with Title IX officials, multiple discussions with Gillette and Oregon officials and a thorough examination of available public records.”

LSU head coach Will Wade was quoted in that release as well: “This is an issue we all take seriously and we made absolutely sure we did our due diligence before considering moving forward. Kavell understands that and has made clear to me that he’s going to repay our confidence by representing LSU with his very best on and off the court.”

Report: Four-star Mamaou Doucoure has reclassified, enrolled at Rutgers

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Rutgers has made a potentially significant addition to their 2017 recruiting class, as four-star big man Mamadou Doucoure appears to have reclassified.

According to the Asbury Park Press, Doucoure has already enrolled in classes at Rutgers, citing a search of the university’s online database. The 6-foot-9 Doucoure was initially a member of the Class of 2017 before reclassifying to 2018, although there have been rumors that he has been trying to enroll this year.

It’s not yet clear if Doucoure will be eligible to play this season — he has not even been added to Rutgers’ roster online — but if he’s eligible, he should be able to provide rotation minutes for the Scarlet Knights.

Even if he’s not cleared to play this season, his addition matters. He’ll be able to workout with and develop in a Big Ten locker room before getting cleared to play alongside a massive 2018 recruiting class that already includes four-stars Mac McClung and Montez Mathis along with three-star prospect Ron Harper Jr.

Options drying up for top ten prospect Mitchell Robinson

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It’s looking less and less likely that we’ll see Mitchell Robinson on a college campus this season.

Robinson, if you’ve forgotten, committed to and signed with Western Kentucky, enrolling at the school and practicing with the team over the summer. But he left Bowling Green after two weeks and has received a release to transfer out of the program.

And that’s where the difficultly here lies.

He’s a transfer, which means that, as a top ten prospect and a likely one-and-done player, he will be redshirting the only year that he is on campus unless the NCAA would provide him with a waiver, which is unlikely. After Robinson left WKU, three schools have emerged as potential landing spots: LSU, Kansas and New Orleans. LSU ended their recruitment two weeks ago. Over the weekend, Kansas head coach essentially confirmed that Robinson will not be a Jayhawks.

“I would think that we probably won’t sign anybody,” Self told the Kansas City Star.

That leaves New Orleans, his hometown school, or overseas, which is a rumor that has followed Robinson since the spring. The other option? Sitting out and training for a year, which FanRag Sports reported on Sunday is a possibility.

However you slice it, Robinson’s one-and-done year has turned into a mess. He’s still likely to end up as a first round pick — seven-footers that can do the things he does defensively don’t grow on trees — but I can’t imagine that teams are going to be clamoring to use a lottery pick on a player that just spent a year sitting out.

VIDEO: Texas freshman Jericho Sims catches nasty alley-oop

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Texas is in Australia for their team’s summer trip, and Jericho Sims gave Longhorn fans a glimpse of why they may not miss Jarrett Allen’s athleticism all that much this season.